Not a cheap solution but an excellent one. If you want exactly the right product for the indoor riding you are doing Assos is offering an option that works.
- - Lighter than an outdoor bib could possibly be
- - Top quality chamois
- - Excellent leg gripper design
- - Seams aren’t flatlock
- - Expensive
Depending on where you live, and what your preferences are, you might spend a significant amount of time riding inside. Even in a relatively mild climate, it's easy to find yourself relegated to indoor riding for at least half of the year. You've already got one of the best turbo trainers for a realistic riding experience and the best computer for indoor cycling to connect it to, but have you put the same thought into the clothing you are wearing?
Even if you haven't put a lot of thought into it, the best cycling clothing brands have been busy thinking about it for you. We have a list of the best indoor cycling clothing but Assos is a new entry into the space. As with everything the Swiss brand does, it's top of the line, but is it right for you though? Keep reading to see what we think of this new option.
Design and aesthetics
One of the more unique design choices from Assos is the butterfly panel. It's a way to minimize seams and increase support and you can also see it in use in the Assos Mille GTO C2 bib shorts. In the design of the Equipe RSR Bib Shorts Superléger S9, Assos has had to take a slightly different path though. You can still see it to some extent but the unique requirements of indoor riding bib shorts mean it's different.
The crux of the change is that the Superléger S9 bib shorts use the absolute lightest fabric possible wherever they can. Starting at the bottom of the leg opening then coming up the outer thigh and across the back is a fabric called Breezer Tex. It's an open mesh knit in a circular seamless fashion that's specifically designed for breathability. It's also very see-through.
Breezer Tex is so see-through that Assos can't possibly build an entire bib short out of the material. You can easily see the colour of your skin through the fabric when just standing still. At the point of any bend, it only gets less opaque.
These are indoor bibs but even in your own house you probably want some modesty so, with that in mind, the centre of the Superléger S9 bib shorts uses a different fabric. It's still a circular knit fabric but the Ossidia fabric in the saddle contact area and the front of the crotch and stomach is more modest. It's the same stretchy compressive material that you can also find in the Assos GTS/GTO shorts. It's a more closed knit, it's not see-through, and it has better compressive 'holding' properties, without restricting breathing.
Under the centre section of opaque fabric is the typical top quality Assos chamois, or insert as Assos calls it. In this case, you can consider this an advanced release of what's to come for future summer bibs from Assos. It's called the SunDeck S9 and it's an evolution of the current Equipe RS S9 insert. At the front, you'll find a microfibre section that is similar to the kukuPenthouse design in the S7 generation of bibs. The back half is similar to the current S9, with added holes to facilitate air circulation. Like all Assos chamois pads, only the front and back has stitching that holds it to the rest of the bib. This allows the insert to move with your body while the rest of the bibs move independently.
This review covers the Assos Superléger S9 indoor specific bib shorts but it's important to mention the other pieces. You can use only the bibs on their own but Assos is offering a full indoor kit. On offer, there are the ultralight RS Socks Superléger, which weigh only 15 grams each, as well as the sweat blocker arm bands called RS Sweat Blocker Superléger and coming straight from '80s fashion. They are both excellent pieces but the real show stopper, in addition to the bib shorts, is the SS Skin Layer Superléger. It's essentially a wide-open mesh base layer with short sleeves and a super soft, opaque, chest and abdomen.
When you put this stuff on you will feel very naked. Your thighs are almost completely visible and if you are pairing the bibs with the skin layer, so is your entire upper chest and back. Assos bib shorts are never the most modest but this is a whole different experience.
Take this as a warning but not as a repudiation. Although I risk ruining the end of the review, I want to say right away that I absolutely love this whole kit and it works incredibly well to keep you as cool as is possible while riding indoors. I generally consider any skintight spandex bib short to be pretty similar when it comes to heat management but the Assos Superléger S9 bibs are noticeably cooler.
The feeling of the bibs is very similar to the difference between wearing a base layer alone and adding a jersey. When you walk out to your trainer you might not notice a huge difference but as soon as you start really heating up there's much more airflow. A fan is more effective at helping evaporate the sweat off your legs and it's more comfortable.
The chamois is also great in these. I was a big fan of the thicker, endurance-focused, design in the Assos Mille GTO C2 bib shorts I previously reviewed but this one is a lot different. It's much thinner and excels at staying out of the way. You don't spend a lot of time feeling like you need to work the fit to get everything sitting where it should. While I might consider a different option for a long endurance-focused ride, these are perfect for the one to two hours of high intensity riding I've been subjecting them to.
Assos is an expensive option. It is one of the few brands using its own fabrics and it pairs these fabrics with high waste patterns. Assos works to be the best at what it does and that means it is not always the most price competitive. There are other kits designed for hot weather that might fit the bill, but there's no denying that the Assos Superléger collection does a super job of keeping you cool and comfortable when riding inside.
There are minimal seams because of a careful pattern design but those that exist are not flatlock seams. I'd like to see that updated in a product this expensive but at the same time, it's never been an issue. These are going to be best for shorter, higher intensity, rides and for that need the seams haven't been an issue.
What these bib shorts, and the rest of the kit, excel at is the highest intensity riding in the hottest environments. Riding indoors means minimal airflow and the open nature of the fabrics means that not a single bit of the air goes to waste. If you do a lot of racing indoors these are going to be a welcome new piece of kit.
Tech Specifications: Assos Equipe RSR Bib Shorts Superléger S9
- Price: £220.00 / $250.00 / €250.00 / AU$400.00
- Available Colours: blackSeries
- Weight: 135g (small, actual)
- Size availability: XS-XLG
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